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Content about Health

July 15, 2015

The Virtual Imaging Platform (VIP), a science gateway designed to provide access to grid computing and storage resources for medical imaging simulation, is helping scientists based in Sweden research new ways of monitoring the progress of multiple sclerosis.

The European Grid Infrastructure (EGI) makes it possible.

April 22, 2015

Heart failure (HF) is a disease experienced globally by 26 million people. A new EU-funded project will monitor breath, saliva, and other symptoms of HF and send smartphone alerts to HF patients every time they find themselves in a critical situation.

April 15, 2015

Cancer researchers at the University of Oslo are using the Abel supercomputer to detect which parts of the genetic code may cause bowel and prostate cancer.

April 8, 2015

Hannah Kuper, co-director of the International Centre for Evidence in Disability at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK, explains how cheap smartphone adapters can be used to diagnose ear and eye conditions. Since over half of the world's population has a mobile phone, this technology, she argues, can ensure patients in all areas get appropriate treatment.  

November 12, 2014

Hosted at CERN, UNITAR’s UNOSAT program examines global satellite imagery for humanitarian use. Whether they're providing maps for disaster response teams or assessing conflict damage to help reconstruction, their detailed reports are vital tools for aid workers. But how can satellite imagery help during a health crisis like the Ebola outbreak? 

June 12, 2013

In the fight against HIV, better understanding of the structure of the virus could lead to new antiretroviral drugs. University of Illinois researchers recently used molecular simulations on the Blue Waters supercomputer to determine the chemical structure of the HIV capsid, which plays a key role in debilitating the immune system.


June 12, 2013

The EU-funded MyHealthAvatar project is testing the idea of a Europe-wide network of health avatars for each individual citizen. Each avatar will be a web-based data depository containing a full record of that individual’s health status. The project aims to collect and provide access to a combination of data sources, simulations models, data-mining techniques, organ systems, and space-time scales. 

January 16, 2013

With current testing methods unable to accurately assess the more than 2 million experiences of concussion in the US each year, advancements in diagnosis and treatment are critical. Revolutionary, high-resolution 'virtual recordings' of electrical currents in the brain could provide a solution.

November 7, 2012

The soaring amount of medical data produced has the potential to revolutionize healthcare, but ensuring it remains available and understandable poses a significant challenge, reports Zara Qadir from this last month's eChallenges conference in Lisbon.

July 13, 2011

It isn't easy to make grids user-friendly. Find out what lessons Vincent Breton, lead for the French NGI, learned while developing a system to monitor bird flu in Vietnam.

December 15, 2010

A new grid application may help biologists solve the structures of mystery proteins.

October 6, 2010

Feature - Achilles tendon a blessing, not a curse

Sprinters lining up for the start of the Women’s 100-meter at the Beijing Olympics. Image courtesy LIM CK, under Creative Commons license.

Compared with other runners on this planet, humans are feeble.
If Olympic sprinters competed against mammals of comparable size, they would never even qualify for the finals. The top speed for an in-shape male human is normally between 15 and 18 miles per hour (24 to 29 kilometers per hour). The world record is 27 mph (43kmh), and that was sustainable for only a few seconds.
Meanwhile, horses have been clocked at about 48 miles per hour, wolves about 42, and the speed champion — the cheetah — at 70 miles per hour. (That’s about 77 kmh, 68 kmh, and 113 kmh, respectively.)
Even warthogs are faster than us.
But in the field of endurance racing however, we leave everyone else in the dust. Over long distances, a well-trained human can outrun a horse.
What is the ke

August 11, 2010

Announcement - DECIDE launch event, 23 September, Rome, Italy

Photo courtesy DECIDE

On behalf of the Project Consortium, it is my pleasure to invite you to the DECIDE project launch event, which will take place on next 23 September 2010 in Rome. Co-funded by European Commission as a part of FP7, DECIDE (Diagnostic Enhancement of Confidence by an International Distributed Environment) aims at designing, implementing, and validating a GRID-based e-Infrastructure and service for the computer-aided extraction of diagnostic disease markers for Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia from medical images. The public launch event is intended to present the DECIDE objectives and work plan to projects, organizations and communities that work in the field of e-Health and are likely to liaise and collaborate with the project, as well as to benefit from its results. The event will be held at Spazio Europa, the public space of the European Commission's Representation in Italy, located in Via IV Novembre

July 14, 2010

Feature - RadiotherapyGrid Gamma-ray map for treatment. Image courtesy BEinGRID Cancer is Europe’s second largest cause of death. One of the most common and effective treatments is external radiotherapy, where a Linear Accelerator (Linac) attacks the cancerous tissue with radiation delivered from several different directions. The treatment plan — the direction, size and length of dosages — has to be carefully calculated to avoid damaging healthy tissue. These calculations can take a long time — speeding up this process would allow earlier treatment and more patients to be treated.RadiotherapyGrid is a solution based on grid technology that helps hospitals plan the best possible treatment for each patient. It has two core functions: verification of plans using accurate — but computationally expensive — techniques; and searching for the optimal treatments. These tools improve the efficiency and effectiveness of planned treatm

July 7, 2010

Link of the week - GridCast blogs from HealthGrid 2010

Posters on display at HealthGrid 2010.
Image courtesy of Daniela Skrowny.

Last week, HealthGrid 2010 attendees gathered in Orsay, France to discuss the state of the art for integration of grid practices into the fields of biology, medicine, and health. Naturally, GridCast bloggers were there to cover it.
Over the course of the three-day conference, GridCast bloggers posted four videoblogs and six blog posts, including:

Daniela Skrowny, a computational medicine and grid computing researcher, writes about the highlights of a poster session.
Faustin Roman, a grid researcher, closes out the conference by sharing his overall impressions.
HealthGrid’s Executive Director Samuel Keuchkerian writes in response to Joan Dzenowagis’ keynote presentation.

Check it all out at the link of the week!

June 30, 2010

Feature - Computing a way out of poverty

In northwest Bangladesh, 72% of the population live below the poverty line, according to the Asian Development Bank. Photo here and on front page courtesy of ADB and Eric Sales, from an ADB Photo Essay entitled New Hope for Bangladesh’s Extreme Poor. 

In the Philippines, the Asian Development Bank and grid specialists are getting together to figure out best investment strategies for Asia’s poorest regions.
One of the outcomes of the EUAsiaGrid Project, funded by the European Commission under Framework Program 7, has been to spark new grid-based collaborations in Southeast Asia.
One example is the result of a meeting that occurred last October, when representatives from EUAsiaGrid partners went to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Headquarters in Manila, The Phillipines, to explore ways to model the impact of poverty alleviation investments that ADB makes.
In the past, investments by development banks such as the ADB and the

June 23, 2010

Announcement - NSF announces Smart Health and Wellbeing program

The National Science Foundation announced on 11 June 2010 a new cross-cutting program called “Smart Health and Wellbeing,” for which they are accepting proposals.
Jeannette Wing, Assistant Director for NSF/CISE, wrote in a blog post, “We are looking for your great ideas for how advances in computer and information science and engineering can transform the nature and conduct of healthcare and wellness as we know it today.”
For more information, please visit the program solicitation.

June 23, 2010

Feature - Cancer researchers speed crystallography

Scientists have trained a system to recognize the formation of 3-D protein crystals, automating a time-intensive, manual process necessary for scrutinizing the structure of cancer-related proteins.
Image courtesy of IBM and the World Community Grid.

Using the World Community Grid, scientists at the Help Conquer Cancer Project have found a way to automate and speed up protein crystallography, according to a recent paper in the Journal of Structural and Functional Genomics.
X-ray crystallography is the process of using x-rays to map the structure of crystals. Although biological molecules such as proteins and DNA are not normally crystalline in form, they can be prompted to form crystals through exposure to the right chemical compounds. Once crystallized, the scientists can use x-rays to map the protein; knowing the structure of a protein is invaluable to scientists who are trying to understand how a protein interacts with the human

June 16, 2010

Feature - Grid makes drug discovery “crystal clear” Real crystals grown in the lab overlaid with a computer-generated crystal structure. Image courtesy OMII-UK From aspirin to the most sophisticated and specialized drugs, it is difficult to overstate the impact that pharmaceutical chemistry has made on modern medicine. Less widely known is that a drug’s operation is dictated by a host of properties that depend on the drug’s crystal structure. A new drug might be the silver bullet for a killer virus, but if it dissolves at the wrong rate in the human bloodstream, it may be useless - or dangerous. In legal matters, patents apply only to a single crystalline form. It’s therefore no surprise that big pharmaceutical companies and other researchers are eager for a computational technique that can predict the possible crystal structures of amolecule. Crystal-structure prediction aims to provide that technique.The hitch has been harnessing the computing resour

May 12, 2010

SAFE-BioPharma - A new domain standard for secure identity

Mollie Shields-Uehling, pictured above, is the CEO of the SAFE-BioPharma Association. Image courtesy Mollie Shields-Uehling.

In medical and pharmaceutical research, researchers deal with sensitive private information on a daily basis. That makes secure identity management a crucial need. Mollie Shields-Uehling is the CEO of the SAFE-BioPharma Association, a non-profit organization charged with creating a standard that meets that need.
iSGTW: Thank you for joining us for this discussion, Mollie. Could you tell us a little bit about SAFE-BioPharma?
Shields-Uehling: SAFE-BioPharma Association is a non-profit industry collaboration established by the world's leading biopharmaceutical companies to develop and maintain a global interoperable digital identity and signature standard for the biopharmaceutical and healthcare communities. The purpose of the standard is to allow the transformation of business and regulatory process to

April 14, 2010

Feature - Mean Shift Smoothie interprets medical images 66 times faster

One of the very first X-rays, taken by William Röentgen in 1896, and showing his wife’s hand. What is the dark blob on one finger?* Image courtesy Wikipedia
*Answer at very bottom of this article.

As any lay-person who has ever looked at an X-ray knows, it can be very difficult to tell what you are looking at, let alone differentiate what is healthy from what is diseased or damaged or otherwise not normal human tissue. (See image at right.)Pity the poor medical expert, then, who must deal with not only two-dimensional images but also interpret information from three-dimensions, such as is the case with magnetic resonance imaging or computer-aided tomography, to name just two imaging modes. These multidimensional data bring additional information, but are also much more difficult to process and interpret.But with advanced algorithms such as clustering, the really useful informatio

March 10, 2010

Feature - Dealing with dengue

Close-up of the Aedis aegypti mosquito that carries dengue. Image courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

First, you get a bad headache. Then your joints feel like they are being crushed. This is followed by fever and a bright red rash on your legs and chest. You may also start vomiting or have diarrhea. This is dengue fever, and it affects two-fifths of the planet’s population. Thanks to the EUAsiaGrid project, grid technology is doing its part to help reduce the burden of this devastating disease.
For most, dengue fever passes after a very unpleasant week, but for some it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which is often fatal. Like malaria, dengue is borne by mosquitoes. Unlike malaria, though, it affects people in cities as much as in the countryside. As a result, it has a particularly high incidence in heavily populated parts of South–East Asia, where it is a significant source of infant mortality in several countrie

February 17, 2010

Video of the week - Computational analysis methods and issues in neuroscience

A talk given by University of California, Berkeley doctoral candidate Bradley Voytek, uploaded on 14 January 2010. Video courtesy of Google engEDU Tech Talks Channel on YouTube.

Love them or hate them, you have to admit that Google has been a regular source of innovation throughout the years.
So it should come as no surprise that Google fosters creativity in their employees by regularly hosting talks from researchers in a wide variety of fields ranging from current affairs, science, engineering, humanities, business, law, entertainment, medicine, and the arts.
In keeping with Google's usual culture, they post these talks on YouTube at a rate of about two each week. The top three most viewed talks? “Sex on the Internet,” with 1,492,499 views; “How to count all human carbon,” with 228,633 views; and “jQuery,” with 189,719 views. The three highest rated videos, on the othe

December 9, 2009

Announcement - US eHealth Collaborative seeks board members

Image courtesy NeHC.

National eHealth Collaborative is now accepting nominations for leaders in the health and healthcare fields to serve on the NeHC Board of Directors.
National eHealth Collaborative is a public-private partnership developed through an open, multi-year, multi-stakeholder process and operates under a cooperative agreement with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). As NeHC turns the corner into its second year, NeHC leaders are looking to their many stakeholders for recommendations on who should be asked to fill vacancies on the NeHC Board of Directors.
“By encouraging the broad adoption and use of health information technologies and electronic health information exchange, we help to create a true patient-centered health system. Public and private sector efforts to expand funding and develop policies and standards are having a significant impact in driving this mo

November 18, 2009

Feature - HSVO connects the dots A screen capture of HSVO's patient simulator user interface. This mock-up of the patient simulator used videos from a training scenario in which students had to save the life of a teenager severely injured during a basketball game. An advanced mannequin stands in for the teenager. During this particular scenario, the students and mannequin were located in Montreal, the mannequin operator and a tutor were in Ottawa, and another tutor was located in Sudbury, Ontario. Image courtesy of McGill University and HSVO. Don’t let the name of Health Services Virtual Organization fool you. If HSVO is a success, it will be proof of concept for generic middleware that enables cloud-based workflows to access any number of services. And that could have implications for any scientific field. Web portals that give researchers access to data, services, applications and computational resources are becoming increasingly common. Researchers can access a variety of servi